THE failure to beat bottom side Leyton Orient means Chesterfield have made their worst start to a league season in 110 years.
However John Sheridan’s side put in their best performance of the season, creating enough chances to have won the game comfortably. But they had to settle for a goalless draw, the B2net Stadium’s first such result.
Chesterfield’s chances of a quick recovery from their lowly position were dealt a major blow when talismanic striker Jack Lester was stretchered from the field after a clash with keeper Lee Butcher.
Lester was left with a broken arm that will keep him away from action for at least a couple of months, maybe a lot longer. That means that the striker shortage at the B2net, a worry before the game, is now a huge problem that must be solved via the loan market, which reopens towards the end of this week.
There were positives, though, to counter-balance the negatives. 27-year-old French winger Alex Mendy, after the protracted international clearance saga, made a very favourable impression on his debut. He could have made a sensational start but saw Butcher save at his feet, with an outstretched leg, to deny him after just four minutes.
The Spireites started very quickly and very positively, looking more like they did last season. Lester, Mendy, Danny Whitaker and Craig Westcarr all went close in a frantic opening blast.
Russell Slade’s Orient, the league’s only pointless side at kick-off time, created some danger on the break. Tommy Lee had to make a smart save to keep a Marc Laird shot out after a tee-up from the English game’s most prolific current striker, Jamie Cureton. The 204 goal frontman, who’d scored eight of his total against Chesterfield, was marshalled well and eventually subbed.
Lester volleyed over and Orient’s Ben Chorley powerfully headed even closer ahead of an almighty scramble from a home corner that ended with Westcarr hitting the side net as a first half goal looked inevitable but failed to materialise.
After the break the tempo slowed a little though a Whitaker cross somehow eluded both Lester and home debutant Westcarr and the crosser saw a couple of shots go close. The second half’s closest call went Orient’s way. Charlie Daniels, an ex-Spireites loan man who’d made his senior bow for Chesterfield against Orient back in 2007, crossed in and Dean Cox, the game’s smallest player, misjudged his header at the far post and the chance was lost.
Left-back Nathan Smith, goalless since 2008, made a superb run and shot within a whisker as the pace of the game picked up again in the latter stages and subs Dean Morgan, Scott Boden and Jordan Bowery were all denied as Spireites again dominated but were unsuccessful in their attempts to find a win.
Sheridan’s injury list was also revealed to have lengthened. Jamie Lowry broke a little toe in last week’s reserves game with Derby County, though he’s only likely to be sidelined for two or three weeks.
The manager commented: “We should have won comfortably.
“We had lots of chances and the tempo was good. The performance should have ended in a positive result.
“We should have been three or four up at half- time with the game won. “We never looked in danger, though Tommy (Lee) did have to make one good save but we kept going and tried to win the game. Keeping a clean sheet was a positive.
“I’d rather have had a poor performance and got the three points but if we keep the consistency and level of play we showed in this game, then we’ll be okay.”
Sheridan was buoyed by the performance of Mendy. “Alex needs more matches,” he said.
“For an hour, he was really bright, created chances and was a handful and the other new lads all did well.”
Next, Chesterfield travel to fellow strugglers Bournemouth.